The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered a Sacramento-area lumber company to restart contract negotiations with the union that represents its employees.
When four Anderson Lumber Co. employees sent letters expressing dissatisfaction with their union, the Teamsters, the North Highlands company took it as a sign that the union was falling out of favor. Anderson withdrew its recognition of the union and refused to negotiate a new contract.
Local 150 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed a grievance with the NLRB.
The administrative law judge who initially heard the dispute determined the company committed an unfair labor practice by withdrawing its recognition. Anderson appealed the decision to a three-member NLRB panel, which also sided with the Teamsters.
In both proceedings, the judges examined the letters the workers sent to the employer and found that while the employees were clearly dissatisfied with the union, none specifically stated that the union was not the legitimate representative of the workers. One letter simply stated, “I resign from local 150.” Another said, “I do not wish to be a union member.”
Note: The National Labor Relations Act requires 30% of union members to request a decertifying vote in letters to the appropriate NLRB panel just to get an election. Then, a majority of union members must vote to decertify the union.